War in space between superpowers here on Earth could be in the cards for the next global military uprising, prompting the question, could World War 3 be a space war?
Countries are preparing for it, according to CNN, after the news channel debuted a documentary on Tuesday summarizing the possibility of a global war in space by looking into who’s making necessary preparations, the kinds of defensive and offensive attacks possible, and what kinds of weapons are being made.
“With rare access to classified U.S. military command and operations centers, CNN showcases the devastation that would be caused by space warfare and how the U.S. military is preparing for the alarming prospect.”
The U.S. isn’t the only country getting ready for a war in space. China and Russia are also bracing for the possibility by planning and formulating weapons which are “seemingly borrowed from science fiction, from lasers to kamikaze and kidnapper satellites.”
This “kamikaze” is actually named Kosmos 2499, and its purpose is to get extra close to other satellites in order to demolish them, thus it would function as an offensive force during a war in space.
General William Shelton, a man who has extensive experience in Air Force space command, says Kosmos 2499 is akin to a “space Trojan horse,” because its benign appearance is deceiving.
“‘You could have something on orbit that, for all intents and purposes, looks like a communications satellite, when in actuality, it is also a weapon,’ said Shelton.”
Another satellite of Russian origin the U.S. military is keeping a close eye on is called Luch, which was sent into space not long after Kosmos 2499. Luch is used primarily for navigational and surveillance purposes, yet, like its predecessor, it’s also capable of satellite destruction, according to Paul Graziani of Analytical Graphics Inc. (AGI).
— SpaceNews (@SpaceNews_Inc) October 16, 2015
Graziani told sources that he and his team have witnessed Luch cozy up to four other satellites (three American, one European) in order to, what he believes, read information. There’s no way to know what kind of data the Russians were able to obtain from these occurrences, but according to him, U.S. forces aren’t happy about it.
War in space is not only on the minds of Russians and Americans, but the Chinese as well. China has been readying for interstellar conflict for more than a few years, according to sources, as they dispatched a satellite named Shiyan, which translates in English to “experiment,” in 2013.
Shiyan didn’t escape AGI’s notice, and they were able to determine that it has a robotic appendage which is able to grasp things, including other satellites.
China affirmed this discovery, claiming Shiyan is “mainly used in space debris observation,” but Graziani and others like him aren’t buying it, as he believes it’d be too useful for a war in space scenario.
“‘You could grab ahold of a satellite and maneuver it out of its mission,’ said Graziani.”
So what is the U.S. government doing to prepare for war in space? As it turns out, there are a couple different means of warfare that have been in the works.
There is laser technology, which is currently being used at ground level in the Persian Gulf to eliminate offensive advances. Laser Weapons System (LaWS) is a technology that can be used either from inside Earth’s atmosphere, or it can be made to work from equipment in space. In a space war scenario, these lasers can be used to “temporarily blind or permanently damage satellites.”
There are, however, certain disadvantages with LaWS that need to be overcome, according to expert Laura Grego. For one thing, satellites that play vital roles for the country they’re from will have shutters to protect from laser attacks.
Another weapon the U.S. has been working on in preparation for war in space is something that in the past decade has become routine in warfare. Often used by the U.S. to target dangerous terrorists, the drone will also be useful in a space-based conflict.
The X37B is the first drone designed for use outside the Earth’s orbit.
— Mary-Ann Russon (@concertina226) November 7, 2016
“Bearing a striking resemblance to the space shuttle, the drone is officially a reusable spacecraft for carrying payloads into space.”
The attributes of X37B has leaders of other countries speculating that it will eventually be used as an effective and deadly weapon for war in space, but U.S. intelligence insists that’s not the case.
With all of these crafty battle tools in mind, what are the likely consequences of a war in space to the general population?
Without satellites, GPS would no longer work, so say goodbye to your favorite television shows, try not to get in a car accident because stoplights would cease to function, the stock market would be paralyzed, forget about international communication and hopefully you won’t be on an airplane when all this happens because the pilot would be lost in every way imaginable.
— Stephanie Holt (@Step_Holt) November 29, 2016
So really, it seems war in space has nearly everything to do with satellites; making them, stealing them, and destroying them in order to best your enemies and wreak havoc on the ground.
Will World War III be a war in space? Does a war in space sound scarier to you than a traditional war on the surface? From what you’ve read, who do you believe has the upper hand at this point in time? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
[Featured Image by puchan/Shutterstock]